The JuJu Exchange Puts Their Stamp On Jazz With “The Eternal Boombox”
Written by Vocalo Radio on August 19, 2020
The JuJu Exchange takes jazz and injects it with a futuristic vision, while staying firmly grounded in the present. Their most recent EP release “The Eternal Boombox” shows off their chaotic yet delicate sound yet again, and we can’t stop listening.
The music of The JuJu Exchange is hard to pin down or easily define. One minute, you’ve got intimate piano suites with a calm and steady drum beat; a trumpet smoothly hovering above the sound marks an easy-to-hum melody. Before you know it you’re surrounded by cathedrals of sound, with electronic synths bouncing around, horns frantically exploding and tempo-changing syncopated drums drawing you forward. It’s hard to anticipate what will come next … oftentimes it’s easier to let go and let The JuJu Exchange guide you through an unexpected musical journey. It’s a joy to relinquish control in this way.
One thing that ties the group together is the tremendous raw and honest attitude from each of their songs. Emotion and excitement punctuate each of their songs, with a gritty, improvisational sound that brings the excitement of a live performance directly into your headphones. When JuJu begins to play, you don’t know if a song will end abruptly or last forever.
It’s exactly this feeling that The JuJu Exchange solidifies with their latest EP, The Eternal Boombox.
The 5-track EP takes us through an ethereal soundscape, as genre-defying as the band itself. “I Can’t See My Eyes,” the EP’s leading track, gives us an introduction into the 15-minute experience ahead, masterfully blending pop and hip hop influences with a classic jazz structure. The track is only a prelude to the frenetic and chaotically beautiful aural maelstrom of “Avalanche.” The eponymous title track “Eternal Boombox” brings jazz into the R&B space with its loud cymbal crashes and insistently moving beat, with recurring horn blasts reminiscent of mid-century big bands.
The JuJu Exchange, comprised of Chicago natives, wonderfully exemplifies the chaos and the passion of the city’s scene, and wow do they show it off. With The Eternal Boombox, they have artfully captured the turbulent, delicate, scattered, organized and beautiful nature of the Windy City.
Listen below …
Written by Luis Mejía Ahrens